it's way down from the Victorian and New South Wales highlands,
the Murray River has been the core of many legends and the inspiration
of artist's brushes throughout Australia's history. The Mighty
Murray also has a lot to offer the travelling angler!
From trout rich, gin-clear streams that stretch some 200 miles
upstream of Albury to its entrance to the southern ocean 1400
miles downstream near Goolwa where monster 50 lb jew fish patrol
Dartmouth nestled in the Victorian high country is the
result of one of the largest earth-rock dams in the southern
hemisphere. The dam across the Mitta Mitta River (a river
contributing to the upper reaches of the Murray) is over
300 feet high! The lake contains a good population of self-supporting
brown trout, carp and Macquarie perch. The pub has great
meals, a warm open fire and the town has decent accommodation.
Camping is also permitted in certain sections around the
lake weather permitting.
Dry Facts about Australia's greatest river
The Murray River basin is about one seventh the total area of
Australia - and it is DRY to put it bluntly.
dry, some locals say the only way to see a school of fish coming
is by the dust they raise! (Only joking)
The Murray-Darling basin comprises of nearly three quarters
of New South Wales, over half of Victoria, a chunk of Queensland
larger than the state of Victoria and a portion of South Australia.
Its average yearly rainfall is approximately 17 inches as compared
with 50 inches in the Tennessee Valley, USA.
Two thirds of this basin contributes no water to the rivers
flow and the catchment upstream from Albury, which equates to
only 2% of its total area, supplies more than one quarter of
The Rivers Health
Fishing in the Murray River is not as good as yesteryear, with
irrigation, the introduction of noxious species (namely European
carp), weirs and snag removal, overfishing and generally poor
river management responsible for its continual decline over
But recent times have seen a slight improvement due to community
awareness of the rivers plight and steps have been taken to
help with its survival as a healthy ecosystem.
The Fish of the upper reaches
At its headwaters, the Murray River is a network of gin clear
tributaries containing good stocks of self-sustaining brown,
and to a lesser extent, rainbow trout. The overhanging native
trees and shrubs, which line the banks of the Murray's headwaters,
harbour all manner of insect life that make tasty offerings
for the local trout population.
The river runs into the first of its weirs near Albury at Lake
Hume. These fish are of healthy size up to 5 pounds with
an average size ranging from one to two pounds that eagerly
inhale a dry fly and well presented lure or drifted bait.
fish posses beautiful markings with many bright red spots
more often found on true 'wild' brown trout. Some of the
tributaries of the Murray River are a fly fishers dream.
Many of these small arterials can be successfully waded
for miles yielding many small but feisty trout.
During summer, the local trout gorge themselves on the masses
of grasshoppers that blunder into the river and some truly
spectacular dry fly fishing can draw anglers for miles.
Beetle hatches can occur during a warm day and a red tag
is always a good 'prospecting' fly as is the many local
gum beetle imitations.
Tackle need not be too heavy as many of the casts are close
and some require the utmost in delicate presentation. Ideal
fly gear for the area is a 6 weight for your average highland
river down to a 4 weight for the smaller streams. Fly leaders
should be at least 10ft for the more wary browns in the
smaller streams and tippets from 4 to 6 lbs.
feisty little resident of the upper Murray River
slashes at a well presented grasshopper imitation
on a warm summers day.
Ultra-light spin-fisherman also take their fair share
of fish. Best hard-bodied artificials include small revolving-blade
lures such as Celtas and Jensen Insects and minnow or
baitfish imitations similar to the Rapala 3 -5 cm range.
Spin gear should consist of a 6 to 7-foot rod with an
ultra-light to light action coupled with 6 lb line. Most
of the locals preferring 4 lb line coupled with a nice
ultra-light rod and quality fixed-spool 'eggbeater' reel
to cast those small celtas.
Drifting live bait is another very effective method of
fooling the local trout population. This method is generally
more appealing to the average angler out to catch a trout
for dinner. This involves the use of a fat scrub worm,
cricket, grasshopper or wood grub and little or no weight
on relatively light tackle.
The bait is flicked upstream of a likely fish lie and
allowed to drift down with the current. Generally, the
amount of weight used is dictated by whether the bait
is terrestrial or aquatic, depth of the river, speed of
the current and the depth the bait needs to be presented.
Rods used for this method are best kept ultra-light and
a decent length of around 7 to 9 ft for casting super-light
offerings moderate distances.
should be small 'eggbeaters' and include a 'long-cast'
spool for that extra distance and control needed to avoid
overhanging branches and land accurately. Best line for
the task is an abrasion resistant 4 lb monofilament line.
This type of line helps avoid cut offs caused by the many
underwater boulders but still offer a natural drift.
trout angler, Paul Close eases a lure caught brown
trout to the bank for a quick photo prior to release.
Small fish like these are abundant and relatively
easily caught in the upper reaches of the Murray River.
to do apart from the great fishing
The upper reaches of the Murray River offer a plethora of opportunities
for the bird watcher with many native parrots, birds of prey
and others. For photographers, the scenery can be breathtaking
as the early morning sun dawns over the nearby peaks and spreads
into the valley where wine-lovers are preparing for another
There are many guides (for all hobbies, not just fishing), trailer
parks, national parks with camping facilities, hotels, small
towns and magnificent golf courses dotting along the entire
length of the Murray River.
Well worth a visit!
Mighty Murray River Part 2 - The Main Arterial
Level Link Goulburn Murray Water
Level Link Water Info NSW
Regarding Rec Fishing at Lake Hume & Mulwala
Victoria Fishing Licence Online